Voter ID is on the way. This comes as a relief to many conservatives. A strict voter ID law was passed by the General Assembly last year but met with Governor Perdue’s veto stamps. Unlike with many of her other vetoes, enough Democrats held together to prevent an override. To this date, North Carolina is the only state in the Old Confederacy to not have implemented some form of voter ID.
Polling consistently shows that North Carolinians support a voter ID requirement. Opposition from progressive groups has not done much to affect the numbers. To voters, showing some form of ID at the polls, and the burden of proof is on the progressive groups to show that these laws are harmful. So far, they haven’t done that, though I imagine they’ve had success at convincing most liberals that voter ID is bad.
Democrats aren’t exactly in a position to mount an effective challenge to voter ID. Even if Pat McCrory wasn’t sitting in the governor’s mansion, Republicans have two-thirds majorities in both chambers of the legislature and can pretty much do whatever they want. A voter ID law is pretty much guaranteed, though it’s still uncertain what form it will take. If Republicans are smart, they’ll pass a strict photo ID law. They have the power, they have the political capital. Do they have the will?
Passing a strict photo ID law is also politically smart, especially if certain members of the General Assembly are planning on a bid for higher office. GOP voters hate any form of capitulation, especially when the vast majority of the public is on their side. Not passing a strict photo ID law when they have the power to do so is a surefire way to rouse their anger.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.